I am not afraid to admit that I love Target.  It combines so many wonderful things in one clean, bright space.  I know, this is the suburban equivalent of hanging out at Wal-Mart, but bear with me.  Inspired by a post I wrote for myself at syntaxxerrorr.com,Mt Nebo Target I’m bringing you a list of things that Target can teach you about advertising.

Highlight your best features – Target knows what it does right.  It’s clean and bright and (aside from the makeup section) surprisingly well-organized.  Target goes so far as to recognize in its 2012 Annual Report that cleanliness is one of the factors that affects guests’ perceptions of the store and is a factor in its competitive ability.  It’s kind of like an it’s-so-obvious-you-may-forget-about-it point, but let me state the obvious.  Be obvious about your positive attributes.  Focus on what makes your brand the best – that’s your unique selling proposition – and then don’t let people forget that your coffee shop uses all-natural everything or your agency has worked with X company with Y results.

Take it as it comes or roll with the punches – On a rainy day, Target brings up that rolling cart full of umbrellas.  They know that some people forgot theirs at home or haven’t replaced an old one. Timing is everything, and so is embracing what comes your way.  While any advertising/PR person worth their beans will tell you that you need a plan, you also must be flexible when unforeseen circumstances come your way.  (I touched on this in 7 Things To Remember When Posting for Your Business.)  Consumers can tell if you’re not being genuine, so if something happens, make sure your customers are aware of it rather than sweeping it under the rug.  They will appreciate that you’re being proactive and working with what comes your way, and you’ll be able to build a trusting relationship with those customers.

Broadcast your goods and services – Here’s another it’s-so-obvious-you-may-forget-about-it point.  Target sends out almost-daily emails with compelling reasons to click through to their site; once you are on the site, they’ve got you.  Sometime they’ll just send a snippet of their online exclusive offers, other emails will contain a link to the weekly ad.  Make sure you let customers know what you are offering and if there are any perks for being a loyal customer.  In any event, let your customers know what you can offer them.

Change is good – Target constantly rotates their stock. This is most notable in clothing (obviously enough).  But even if your business is not a clothing company, you need to change; maybe a better word is evolve. If you haven’t taken a look at your website with a critical eye recently, now is the time to do so.  Is it static or is it dynamic?  Are you displaying current information such as location, contacts, hours of operation, goods/services provided, and up-to-date links?  If you need help, contact theBrewRoom for a hand.  Sometimes its best to have an impartial person with whom to brainstorm and get a fresh perspective.  Make sure to update your social accounts along with your website!

Just because it’s a deal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or you should offer it – Sometimes Target has too much to pick from.  This can get overwhelming, especially when clearance-time hits.  You just want ALL the clearance things.  So try not to pile on the specials or offer them constantly.  If you’re always offering a 20% off special, why don’t you just reduce the price by 20%?  Otherwise, it’s like the shopping equivalent of the boy who cried wolf; your customers are just building up an immunity to your deals.  Sure, there are certain buzz words that whip consumers into a frenzy, like “sale” and “just reduced,” so use them for their intended purposes.  It’ll make it more effective and have more of an impact when you have a sale (for real!) in the future.

So I want to know: what do you love (or hate) about Target (or another establishment)?  And more importantly, what do you learn from your shopping trips?

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